Victim’s Dismembered Body Found in Trash Bags

The following arrest information was supplied by the Bethlehem Police Department and the Lehigh County Homicide Task Force. It does not indicate a conviction.

Officers on the scene yesterday reported “a putrid smell” coming from 1860 Cloverdale Rd. in Bethlehem, the site of between William J. Ward and .

According to the arrest affidavit, in the front bedroom of the home, officers found large, black trash bags containing body parts of “an Asian female believed to be Trisha Sadler.”

Lehigh County property records show that home on Cloverdale Road has been owned and occupied by Trisha A. Sadler, 29, since September 2010. A friend and co-worker of Sadler’s, Crystal Van Gorden, told police that Ward, 45, had been living with Sadler since November 2010, but they had been a couple for nine years.

Gorden made the call to police Friday morning after Sadler had not shown up to work for two days. She told police that Sadler had also missed work two weeks ago, when Ward allegedly had threatened to kill her, according to court documents.

Gorden also told police that Sadler was in the process of breaking up with Ward.

According to the arrest report, Ward has “an extensive criminal history” including multiple charges for assault. He is currently on parole for aggravated assault related to a previous domestic violence incident.

The Morning Call is reporting that Sadler's neighbors said they occasionally heard 'shouting and screaming' from the residence, and neighbors also said the police were called at least once before.

The Arrest

After Gorden’s call to police, officers were dispatched to the Cloverdale Road home. The officers identified themselves, according to court records, and forced their way onto the front, screened-in porch.

While looking through an open window into the house, an officer “saw a black male in a white tee shirt charge at him with an object.”

The officers retreated, surrounded the house, and the City’s Emergency Response team eventually stormed in using non-lethal gas bombs to distract and subdue Ward.

The affidavit states that Ward yelled, “You won’t take me alive,” as police entered the house.

Ward tried to pepper spray the officers and threw three large glass vases and barbell weights at them. But the police were able to shoot him in the hip with a bean bag, and then eventually dragged him from the home.

The Body

When Sadler’s cell phone was tracked, the service provider indicated that the signal was coming from inside the house. And inside the front bedroom, police found a significant amount of blood, the report states.

Bethlehem Police Sgt. Scott Meixell entered the bedroom where there were large, black trash bags. Meixell touched one of the bags and felt what he believed to be a dismembered limb with a bone protruding.

When Meixell opened the bag, "he saw a female torso matching Sadler’s description.”

Lehigh County Coroner Scott Grim positively identified the body as Sadler's through fingerprints and ruled the death a homicide.

Grim said Sadler died of "sharp force trauma attributed to stab wounds."

The Charges

In addition to criminal homicide, Ward, has also been charged with resisting arrest, reckless endangerment and multiple counts of aggravated assault, according arrest records.

Ward has been committed to Lehigh County Prison, police said. No bail is permitted in homicide cases in Pennsylvania.

The Scene

At about 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Bethlehem police and two police vehicles -- including an evidence truck -- were still camped outside the house. So to was a big box storage unit and and a flat bed to transport it.

Next door, at 1902 Cloverdale, a neighbor sat on a chair in his front lawn, barely able to contain his emotions.

"They were nice people," he said, choking back tears. "That's all I can say."

Dana Grubb June 19, 2011 at 08:21 PM
Darryl & Jerry, Just got back into town and read your account of this horrific situation. This is fast becoming a Bethlehem that I don't care for when I read these kinds of accounts, and I've lived here my entire life. I'm beginning to believe that the human race has reached the extent of its gene pool whenever I read these kinds of things, either that or evil incarnate walks among us. So sad for this young woman, her family and Bethlehem.
bruce v miller October 23, 2011 at 12:08 AM
As a life long resident of Bethlehem, I too, am shocked to know this terrible, brutally horrid crime can take place on the same block and just around the corner from the home I not only grew up in, but reside in today. My heartfelt prayers go out to the family and friends of this young women who lost her life too early at the hands of a seriously demented man. bvm.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »